Most companies strive to have an inclusive and exceptional culture. A strong, robust culture helps support a memorable brand, unique value proposition. A McKinsey report found diverse companies were 35 percent more likely to have financial results above the industry average.
The latter has always been a priority. But, the former — the inclusive culture — is what business leaders are realizing they need to drive innovation and revenue. Strides have been made, but gradual ones. The discourse following the #MeToo movement exploded. Companies that made hiring diverse teams mandatory supported this. The Mansfield Rule, and other ground-breaking initiatives, reinforced this prompting of actions to be taken. Leaders are talking about the issues, challenges, and results. Change is happening, but is it a revolution or a transformative shift? And, if not, how do we get there?
All of this is great, but we need to do more. Companies endeavor to create inclusivity, there are diversity and inclusion programs, committees, strategy sessions, retreats, perks. But ultimately, it is what we all bring to the table. We are all part of the process. And we all could do more.
Diversity and inclusion initiatives are great, but not enough. Everyone needs to tackle inclusion in a 360-degree way. We are in the midst of a culture shift, and more needs to be done to facilitate progress.
Take ownership. Being mindful is not enough; it’s acting on that mindfulness and communicating the intention. This year’s theme of the Diversity Leadership Forum is “Ownership” — taking ownership of what we can control. That word struck a chord as I was talking to my kids about my upcoming Women Leaders Forum retreat and how proud I am of the program and its focus on development and advancement of women in the legal industry. Struck, as I am talking to my gender-fluid child and realizing she may not identify with this program the way I do. At that moment, I realized I wanted to make a difference for my children and others.
Ownership starts with me. That said, I changed the name of the Women Leaders Forum to the Diversity in Leadership Forum to encompass all races, religions, and genders — all underrepresented individuals. It comes as no surprise the program has majority comprised of white women. But, this year the program is more diverse and it is the best year yet. Dynamic conversations, collaborative encouragement, smart advice and tips and an overall warm fellowship. Increasing diversity elevates business to the next level and it starts with each of us taking ownership of what we can control…
…It is time for everyone to take ownership, walk and talk with purpose, and act in a proactive and meaningful way…